I have really loved connecting with parents from all over the world over our shared interest in names of our faith, so I’m excited to post today’s consultation, from Sabrina in Austria! She and her husband are expecting their third baby, a little girl, though when she first wrote to me they hadn’t yet found out the gender (hence the references to boy names they’d considered, which I’ve left in for inspiration).
This baby will join older siblings:
Which I just love! Sabrina writes,
“Our first son is called Parsifal – the germanized version of Perceval. As you might have guessed, we weren’t really practising [our faith] back then, so the second name is Hubertus, however we don’t have a huge culture of using middle names here though. Our daughter is called Aurelia. As you see, the names are quite uncommon, so we need one that fits in with them as well, Peter or Paul just won’t do it 😉 For a boy, we already considered Vito. I sort of like the name and concerning the degree of rareness it would fit, but I was told it would not fit to the style of the two others. There’s also still the consideration of calling him Richard, after my husband’s grandfather, however this would not quite fit in with the rareness.
For a girl, I’d absolutely adore Vivien (or any variation thereof), but my husband doesn’t like it too much. Genevieve would be great and going along with Parsifal well, but it is a tad too un-German to pronounce. My husband likes Agatha, but I think it’s the epitome of an old lady’s name. I’d also like Seraphina if it wasn’t too close to my own name. Also, it would be nice to avoid the too common ones, you can find a current list of them here.
I browsed the lines of our monarchy’s ancestry after reading about our princess, and while the men had all sorts of beautiful names (the more common ones being Franz, Josef, Karl and such), nearly everyone of the women was named Maria, Anna or Theresia. Isn’t that weird?
What we also considered – it would be a bold move and a break with our principle to not use genuine double names, but I really like the idea and my husband does too – was Stella Maris. Stella is a known name here, pretty uncommon but not unheard of, and it would be such a beautiful attribution to the Holy Virgin.
… around here, we can’t just go on and name our kids however we want (like that “Saint” post you posted), the magistrate decides whether it is actually a name and will approve of it. A friend of mine wanted to name her daughter Amalaswintha, after a gothic princess, but they declined and so they had to choose Amalia. Also they nearly declined even our Parsifal, however, they found one or two bearing that name in Germany. 🙂 “
I had fun working on this! I always love delving into names that are more unusual. That said, however, I only know what’s considered unusual for Americans, so I apologized in advance to Sabrina if some of my suggestions were too popular for her, or were names that Austrians would consider unattractive. I was fascinated by the lists of the most popular names she linked to—names like Maximilian, Tobias, Felix, Elias, Fabian, Sebastian, Florian, Valentina, and Magdalena are all the kinds of names I normally would have suggested to a parent with children named Parsifal and Aurelia. I love learning about differences between countries and cultures, and names provide such a fun way to do so!
Okay, these are my thoughts about their ideas:
— Vivian: I love it too! Vivian and Vivienne have been fairly popular here recently, along with other V-heavy names like Evelyn/Evelina, Evangeline, and Genevieve (see below). Vivian derives, as far as I can tell, from Latin vivus meaning “alive,” and Vito, which they’d considered for a boy, is from vitus meaning “life,” so that’s an extra connection Sabrina and her husband might appreciate. Or maybe they’d consider Vita? I quite like Vita! I think it would work really well as a sister to Parsifal and Aurelia.
— Genevieve: A gorgeous name! It’s a recent favorite among several of the Catholic families I know, and a name that’s often loved by those who also like Vivian/Vivienne! A name that’s similar in appearance and length and is more uncommon (at least here) is Guinevere. There’s a St. Winifred of Wales who’s also known as St. Guinevere.
— Agatha: Here, too, Agatha is firmly still an old lady name, though I do think it’s going to coming back into a certain popularity, on the heels of new revivals Alice and Agnes. I do think the nickname Aggie is cute!
— Seraphina: Yes, I love Seraphina too. It’s similar in style to Genevieve and Vivienne — Sabrina has very consistent (and lovely!) taste! But I can see that it might be bothersome to have mom Sabrina and daughter Seraphina.
Those are my thoughts on their current ideas, and of course I came up with some other ones for them as well. As you all know, I always rely pretty heavily on the Baby Name Wizard book when doing a consultation, and its list of “Exotic Traditional” names seemed just the right style for Sabrina and her husband. Using that list, and some other ideas, I have these suggestions:
(1) Veronica or Veronika
I think Veronica/Veronika would fit in nicely with Parsifal and Aurelia! I love that it’s long and sophisticated; it’s got that great V like Genevieve and Vivian; and it’s a great Catholic name!
Sadly, this gorgeous name has been ruined for American Catholic parents for a while, because of the novel series Fifty Shades of Grey. But if it doesn’t have that association in Austria, I would love to see it used! Anastasia is so pretty and saintly, with the amazing meaning of “resurrection,” which is so great for a baby born near Easter. I don’t know if it would bother Sabrina and her hubs to have two A names, but I think Aurelia and Anastasia are different enough that it wouldn’t be a problem.
(3) Philomena or Filomena
Philomena/Filomena is uncommon and exclusively Catholic here (even though it seems St. Philomena is no longer a Saint; the meaning of the name is beautiful anyway. I’ll be doing a spotlight on it soon — stay tuned!), and I love that I think all of these nickname options could work: Fia, Fila, Fina, Finn, Finna, Lola, Mena, Minnie, Pia, Pim, Pina, and Pippa.
(4) Eleanor, Eleanora, Leonora, Lenora
One of my favorite features of the Baby Name Wizard book is that it lists, for each entry, boy and girl names that are similar in style/feel/popularity (in America). I looked up all the names that Sabrina and her husband have used and like, and looked for any names that were similar to more than one of their favorite names, and Eleanor and variants were a big hit for them! Lenora was listed as similar to Percy (the entry most similar to Parsifal/Perceval); Eleanor is similar to Genevieve and Vivian; Eleanora is similar to Aurelia; and Leonora is similar to Agatha. To me, that’s pretty overwhelming evidence that they might like one of these names! Are they rare enough for Austria?
Raphaela is a style match for Seraphina, and I really like that it refers to St. Raphael, who is one of the archangels, and Seraphina refers to the seraphim. Nice connection! Beautiful name.
And those are all my ideas! What do you all think? What would you suggest to Sabrina and her husband for Parsifal and Aurelia’s little sister? If any of you have knowledge of naming trends in Austria, I’d love to hear what you think of the suggestions here!